What emerged from the cave mouth was perhaps not what was expected by the 'Hidden' and by the bracing, vigilant Tristan. Nor did Vee, seeking to escape the rain, notice or hear before it was too late. He was positioned closest to the cave entrance now a mere twenty feet away.
"You were told not to slay travelers so close to the town."
came the drum-like, monotonous voice of the first figure.
A dwarf, stout as a barrel, imposing though lacking in height, with a night-black beard, bare-chested, with twin, crossed hatchets tatooed in dark red across his torso, was addressing the creature behind him. As the dwarf emerged, two more identical hand-axes could be spotted etched on his back. Perhaps unsurprisingly, in each meaty hand he held steel throwing axes, and two more slightly larger hatchets could be seen slung on his waist. Even in the coming darkness his bearing was unmistakable. He looked like a merciless killer.
In responce to the dwarf's statement came a guttural, obscene sound, followed by a mewling, lamentable yelp, and the second and third figures emerged from the cave. The first was a monstrous, gangly gnoll, almost seven feet tall, despite its abnormal humpback. Covered in red fur, it clutched a bound smaller gnoll, in one muscular arm, and a wicked sickle in the other. The yelps came from this second gnoll, bound with rope like a mummy, and helpless, as the red gnoll dragged him out."Slay one of your own, and we shall return again as brothers."
The dwarven baritone came again.
Without delay, the huge red gnoll disembowled the other, now screaming and still bound, gnoll in its grasp, with a cruelly curved sickle. The dying creature thrashed, spasming as it died, its dark blood mixing with the pouring rain. The gutted runt's awful shrieks suddenly began to subside, his maw filling with rainwater, gurgling his painful laments.
At this the taciturn, fearsome dwarf said. "It is done, Jervoe will--"
He silenced himself and peered into the gloom. It was then he spotted the adventurer-upon-return
and the justice-seeking Tristan, standing there in silent vigil.
The dwarf's face twisted into a cruel visage. He raised both axes, wordlessly, ready to throw. He was not one for 'parlay'.
The huge red-furred gnoll growled menacingly and extracted a bizarre weapon from its back. A tripartite rod, six feet long, seperated into three equal pieces, linked together by thin chain. Six feet of pliable iron and oak.
It was then Tristan realized it was no gnoll, but a rarer Flind, which now faced him down, its muzzle quivering and beginning to slaver, wielding its strange weapon of choice, the Flind Bar. Tristan had known a brother back in the abbey, who had taught the skill involved in wielding these rare weapon prizes.
Tristan also realized ruefully, that neither the fearsome dwarf nor the dangerous flind was bothered by the dark...and certainly not the rain. The stench grew greater in Tristan's nostrils. He hoped the smell of his own fear was not mingled with unmistakable odor of the flind and gnoll. He in fact had little time to 'fear', as the Flind bore down upon him.
--Axes flew from the dwarf's grasp and the Flind charged in rage. Vee was screwed and Tristan was next in line.
--waiting on Vee and the "Hidden". <<<<warning--Red Hatchet and the Flind are no joke--I did not anticipate Tristan simply confronting them